• By Check-a-Salary
  • Posted Tuesday 17 th September 2019

Work like a Recruiter - The alternative way to apply for jobs

If you search the internet for “help applying for jobs” you will find lots of insightful articles providing lots of similar information on the best way to apply for jobs. If you take the advice and guidance offered, the chances are you will find a job, but you can make life a lot easier for yourself.

Barclays Life Skills, who appear number 1 on Google in the search for “help applying for jobs” share helpful content and provide standard advice that includes:

  • Taking your time & personalising your application
  • Speaking their language
  • Selling yourself
  • Keeping it relevant
  • Including a cover letter

An article from https://www.jobs.ac.uk which also appears on page 1, provides lots of details which, although a little obvious, are very helpful in parts.

The Challenges You Face When Applying For Jobs

The problem with both articles, and with using the standard job application approach, is that this is generally the way most job seekers look for, and apply for, work.

By applying for jobs in the standard way, you are immediately falling into the trap of applying for hundreds of jobs with your CV often going into a ‘black hole’.

By adopting different tactics, combined with the standard approach, you will be able to secure your next position in a shorter space of time, possibly even landing a job that is more compelling and potentially with even bigger rewards and a higher salary.

The world today demands that positions are filled quickly and if candidates want to be successful, they need to start thinking and working like recruiters; if they do, they can stop wasting their time applying for hundreds of positions and present themselves to line managers without even sharing a CV.

When searching for jobs on LinkedIn, you are given valuable insights which may encourage, or in some cases discourage, you to apply.

LinkedIn can display how many applications have been received for a position; for example, it might show that 200 applications have been received, giving you the chance to decide whether you want to become the 201st applicant or consider doing it differently.

If you were to apply the standard way and become the 201st applicant, you are up against it.

Let us assume the inhouse recruiter reviews every applicant, you are now in the hands of the recruiter and you have to trust that they will make the right judgements on your CV.  The question is, has this person worked in your industry and do they really have the right credentials to properly assess your suitability for the role and for the company?

Maybe the line manager will review all the applicants, or at least start to. Once they have seen a certain number of good candidates, they are highly unlikely to continue looking through the remaining CVs.

The Best Way to Apply for Jobs – the tactics

So, what can you do to jump the queue and make sure you are the first person the line manager considers for the job?


Firstly, assess the company on LinkedIn and, in your research, identify the line manager. Send that person a message or a LinkedIn Invite explaining that you work in the industry and that you would like to connect with them.

At this stage, it might be wise not to mention the position you are interested in, but take the opportunity to start building a rapport.  Engage in conversation and when the time is right, share your interest in the company.

The best outcome is that you haven’t become the 201st person to apply for a job on their applicant tracking system - there is a chance you have put yourself first in line for an interview, without even sharing your CV.

If you have had a positive dialogue, then the worst possible outcome might be that you have had good engagement, but you may still need to send your CV through their applicant tracking system.  However, if you created a good impression, when the line manager reviews your CV, you have a much better chance of getting noticed. Also, when they LinkedIn with you, there is every chance that they reviewed your skills and experience so make sure your profile is up to date and relevant.

If you aren’t successful linking in with the line manager, there are other employees who you should connect with. There is a chance that they are involved in recruitment or can at the very least, point you in the right direction.

If you have developed a good connection then they may be happy to help you with your application; by being your sponsor not only are they helping their company but there is a good chance that they will be rewarded with an internal recruitment referral fee which many companies offer and is often, very generous.


Another thing to consider is that agency recruiters often phone line managers to offer their recruitment services and pitch candidates. Whilst a candidate calling the client may have a mixed reception, assuming it is done in the right manner, most people would appreciate the tenacity of a direct approach from a candidate.

If you have the line manager’s email address you may wish to send your CV directly, but consider how you might use this opportunity to stand out. Consider sharing a reference, a case study and provide a link to your LinkedIn profile. Perhaps you could refer to the job they are recruiting for and explain how you would tackle the position and bring success to the company. 

Look through your network and see which contacts you share. Whilst it is pretty pointless to just refer to the fact that you share mutual contacts, as we are all connected in today’s world, it helps to research the job, the company and any information about the line manager and if you are certain that you want to pursue the job, ask your mutual contact to make an introduction. 

By being thorough and by adopting an approach that a recruiter would use, you will target specific jobs in companies that excite.  This will help you to have stronger engagement, resulting in you needing to make fewer applications and reducing the time it takes you to find your next job.

Good luck in fine-tuning your approach to finding work!


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